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GRASSROOTS INPUT TO ENVIRONMENTAL DEBATES

Is “Global Warming” the real issue?

By Chris Henggeler, Kachana, December 2007

What I write about below are things I first heard mentioned by my father in the nineteen-sixties relating to regional climatic change in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Then in 1999 at the second international Holistic Management Conference I heard Allan Savory put things in a global context. – While most people focus on the measured, Allan warns us about our “the exposed Achilles heal”: the consequences of ‘not doing’…

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People who live and work in situations exposed to the elements are beginning to learn first-hand that potentially we are faced with something far more dangerous than:

  1. Build up of CO2 in the atmosphere
  2. Increasing ambient temperatures
  3. Declining volume of ice and snow
  4. Rising sea-levels

The above are measurable and predictable; responses can be planned in advance.
However the true nature of “Global Climate Change” is not predictable in the same way!

Has the horse already bolted? Is it too late to still do something?
We had well over 40 years of warning about why our climates might be changing…
Many leaders in politics and industry remain in official denial…
The chances are that we are not going to be able to talk our way out of something that we collectively acted our way into… not in Kyoto, not in Bali, not anywhere else…

The probability is high that ocean levels will continue to rise while we lose glaciers and arctic ice…
This century a global ‘Migration to Higher Land’ may compound the effects of existing migrations ‘Out of Africa’ and  ‘Off the Land’ (into Cities).
The resulting cost in lives, emotions, health, quality of life, infrastructure and labour may turn out to be horrendous…
A witch-hunt that changes focus from ‘war-criminals’ to ‘terrorists’ to ‘environmentally irresponsible policy makers of the twentieth century’ may save political parties (for a while), but it will not address the challenges we face as societies dotting a globe that is now showing us another side of its character..

We can, and we ought to pray for miracles…

We can also begin to act on adopting mitigation strategies for what may lie in store.
Viewed from an environmentally literate perspective the issue is nothing other than:
“destabilised climatic systems”

(NOT ‘global warming’ or ‘CO2 buildup in the atmosphere’ – these are merely associated symptoms or ‘results’).
“Climate change” is a purely ‘functional issue’ related to the ‘Law of the Harvest’ (or ‘Balance’ if you like).
Climate changes all the time… “Climate” too is a “result”.

What should concern us, and what is dangerous, is the instability related to global climate:

  1. Increasingly erratic climatic conditions
  2. The increasing unpredictability of climate
  3. Unprecedented extremes

At the core of it all we find human induced chain-reactions:
Wherever and whenever we humans disrupt the carbon cycle, this leads to local disruptions of eco-system function.  – With this comes micro-climatic change: temporary or permanent…
Sometimes only microorganisms are affected…
Sometimes larger organisms are affected too…
Often vegetation is affected…
History shows that often Nature was able to compensate for these imbalances… but not always
Change enough microclimate and you begin to change local climate… man-made deserts all over the world are testimony to this process.
Change the surface that the sun shines on (approx 12 hrs/day) at continental scales and you begin to change wind patterns globally…
The key to building new climatic stability is in how we manage “the top half millimeter of soil”. This determines what our daily ration of sunshine falls onto (green leaves, dry organic matter or bare ground)… this affects the winds that move the moisture surrendered by our oceans and heat trapped in our atmosphere…
There is no telling how successful we may be, and our woeful track-record as human custodians of this planet does not leave for much hope…

However HOPE we must.

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And TRY we must. (If we have a conscience.)

There are very convincing results out in the field on various continents that indicate what is possible.
I recommend a viewing of the Power Point Presentation compiled by the people of www.soilcarbon.com.au 

If we are to succeed in the challenge of mitigating the effects of changing climatic systems here is a list of ‘things we might do’:

  1. become environmentally literate and learn to trust our own five senses
  2. learn to network and to choose leadership based on performance
  3. position ourselves to ride the tide, rather than to go with the flow
  4. act within our sphere of influence

The good news: If we begin now to re-design the “ecological foot-print” we leave behind on this planet, there may still be some “win win win” options open.

We may in fact have a sporting chance to mitigate the effects of destabilized climatic systems.

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